GIRAV project, stakeholders sensitize communities in Niamina East District on GRM

GIRAV project, stakeholders sensitize communities in Niamina East District on GRM
GIRAV project, stakeholders sensitize communities in Niamina East District on GRM

Africa-Press – Gambia. More than 160 people from the villages of Sinchu Alagie, Mbayen, Hamdalai and N’gawar in the Niamina East District, Central River Region have been sensitized on how to effectively prevent and manage grievances in the intervention areas of the GIRAV Project.

The outreach campaign forms part of a nationwide launched by the project in December last year in close partnership with the Regional Grievances Redress Committee in each of the 7 Agricultural regions of the Country targeting the 40 communities and local authorities where the 20 Women-led and 20 Youth-led Agribusiness firms (WYLAFs) will be established by the Project.

The grassroots sensitization campaign is targeting members of the Women and Youth-led Agribusiness Firms being supported by the project, village heads, Village Development Community members and district chiefs through face-to-face meetings. The main objective is to introduce them to the Grievances Redress Mechanisms (GRM) and all the related Environmental and Social Safeguard Instruments (ESSI) developed by the project to guide the implementation of activities supported by the project.

The Gambia Inclusive and Resilient Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (GIRAV) is a five-year project funded by the World Bank through a grant of USD40 million. The project is designed to promote the development of inclusive and competitive agriculture value chains, focusing on smallholder farmers and agribusinesses in Project targeted areas.

Omar Touray, Chief of Niamina East District paid glowing tribute to the Gambia Government and the World Bank for the WYLAFs initiatives. He expressed optimism that once operational, the intervention will significantly contribute towards the transformation of Agric-Food Systems for better live, better nutrition and increase income and social wellbeing. He challenged the target beneficiaries of the WYLAFs and other investments from the project to make maximum use of the assistance. He assured the project of his unwavering commitment and support to the successful implementation of the project activities.

Isatou Hatta Ceesay, Lady Councillor for the area also expressed gratitude to the Government and the World Bank for the GIRAV project. She explained that the certified rice and maize seeds support and the fertilizer programme as well as the Matching Grant support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has increased production and productivity, food security and nutrition, employment opportunities and increased household incomes.

Mr. John Mendy, Agriculture Director for Central River region South who also doubles as the Secretary to the Regional Grievances Redress Committee who chaired the sensitization forums at Sinchu Alagie and Mbayen also underscored the significance of the outreach campaign. He explained that the project through its seeds and fertilizer programmes, Matching Grant for SMEs as well as its support to strengthen the extension service of the Department of Agriculture is already impacting positively on lives and livelihoods. He expressed optimism that the WYLAFs initiatives will further help build the resilience of farmers for improved food security, nutrition and socio-economic status of the women and youths in the region and beyond.

Speaking at the various meetings, Mr. Fafanding Katiri Kinteh, Social Development Specialist of the GIRAV Project and the Central Projects Coordinating Unit (CPCU) of the Ministry of Agriculture emphasized the importance the public sensitization campaign on GRM and its related issues for the successful implementation of project activities. He explained that the execution of the WYLAFs would include establishment of a chained –link perimeter fence for the 5-hectare garden to be equipped with a solar-powered irrigation system and a multi-purpose facility. He said: “The implementation of all these sub-projects would create employment for hundreds or thousands of people who will be based in the intervention sites and thus creating an environment that put women and children of the host communities at risk of Gender-Based Violence GBV) (including Sexual Abuse and Exploitation (SAE), Sexual Harassment (SH) and Violence Against Children (VAC) which remain a global problem.

“To address this global problem, The World Bank in her investment projects put in measures to mitigate the problems of the GBV. Key among these measures is the preparation and validation of the safeguard instruments (ESMF, RPF, LMP SEP ESCP) to be use during project implementation. The project is committed to engage and sensitize its stakeholders including the beneficiary communities more especially the women and young girls who remain the most vulnerable group to GBV during project implementations. The project will provide a Toll-Free number for the general public to facilitate timely reporting of grievances to the relevant authorities for redress,” he added.

Mr. Saiba Suso, Action Aid The Gambia’s Local Rights Coordinator in Niamina East who supported the women in the area to access land for the WYLAFs also commended the project for the initiative. He enjoined the women groups to remain united in purpose and redouble their efforts for the attainment of the desired ojectives. He assured of Action Aid The Gambia’s continuous support and collaboration in the execution of the sub-projects.

For their part, the Alkalolu of Sinchu Alagie, Mbayen, Hamdalai and N’gawar Sherrif Sabally expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Agriculture and the GIRAV project for the gesture. They assured of their commitment to the successful implementation of the project. They however appeal for the implementation works on the WYLAFs to be expedited.

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